5 Interesting Facts about Gilbert, Arizona You Probably Didn’t Know

Gilbert is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States that is part of the Phoenix metropolitan area. While the city itself is quite new, the area has a rich history. Over the years, the town has been home to Native Americans, Spanish missionaries, and even a gold rush town. Today, Gilbert is a thriving city that offers a mix of old and new, with beautiful historic buildings like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Downtown Gilbert Historic District alongside newer developments like O.O. McIntyre and Tres Rios.

Native Americans and Spanish missionaries

Gilbert was built around two missionary settlements. The first was built in the 1880s by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to support the first Navajo settlers in the area. The city was settled by a group of 150 families and the church built several schools, a hospital, a workhouse, and a chapel to accommodate the residents. Gilbert also served as the headquarters of the first Navajo Indian Bureau. According to The Arizona Republic, the bureau was “essentially a social services arm of the church” and provided services such as medical care, schools, and food to the residents of the Navajos, who at the time numbered around 8,000. The church also founded the historic St. Mary’s Church in 1888 to serve the nearby Apache settlers.

The gold rush

The town got its start with gold miners during the 1850s. To be more specific, an 1851 news story from the New York Herald announced that Gilbert was the “newest town in the state of Arizonas.” While it was originally called Dry Lake Town, it eventually became known as Gilbert as well. However, the boom ended up lasting several decades and Gilbert itself only grew to a population of 200. It took a number of years for Gilbert to regain some of its luster and the town remained a small mining community for a number of years, before finally growing to an estimated population of 4,100. The city finally saw its first large growth spurt from the 1970s through the 2000s, with a total population of more than 100,000 residents.

O.O. McIntyre and Tres Rios

O.O. McIntyre and Tres Rios have been quite active in the Gilbert area for the past decade, and they are quickly becoming the new trend for the area. For starters, the two restaurants are in walking distance of one another, which means you can go and grab a bite to eat, hang out, or just have a nice relaxing lunch or dinner with friends. They also boast very tasty food and inviting vibes, so they’re a great choice for a nice leisurely lunch. But what’s even more impressive about the restaurants is their location. O.O. McIntyre and Tres Rios are right in the middle of downtown Gilbert, so you can’t really miss them! Gilbert Historic District One of the most interesting things about the Gilbert Historic District is that it’s home to nearly 10,000 historic buildings from the 19th century.

Historic buildings

The first European settlements in Arizona were established in northern Arizona, but by the late 1800s, Phoenix was becoming a desirable city for migrants looking to start a new life. By 1891, Phoenix had over 15,000 inhabitants. Soon, the city’s economy developed around agriculture and mining. While gold mining was one of the industries that brought prosperity to Phoenix, it also brought environmental problems such as water contamination. The flow of water was even known to change color, so miners referred to the water as “not safe to drink.” As a result, many early immigrants stayed in southern Arizona where conditions were more stable. While Phoenix was expanding, early immigrants to the area began to settle in what is now the town of Gilbert.


Some people think Gilbert is just another suburb, but the truth is, it has a rich history that is ideal for those looking for a unique experience. No two days in Gilbert are ever the same, and the place is always evolving as new attractions and shops pop up all over town. If you are interested in learning more about Gilbert, Arizona, then click here.